Read an Excerpt
By Teri Dusenbury
Dover Publications, Inc.Copyright © 1994 Teri Dusenbury
All rights reserved.
How mysteriously the shuttle flies between fingers and thread, creating a unique and precious piece of lace from the mere manipulation of a threaded shuttle!
Tatting is the manipulation of a slip knot, the double stitch, and the variations of it. The double stitch consists of two hitches that, when properly formed, become a slip knot that relies on a internal thread for support. From hitches to stitches come rings, chains, flowers, butterflies and hearts.
Tatting has a rich evolutionary history. Evidence is given in ancient hieroglyphic texts that the early Egyptians practiced a method of forming rings and circles using a shuttle called a makouk. With the rise of civilization, knotting (which tatting is said to have derived from) found its way westward from China when the Dutch opened the Middle East to trade. Knotting also utilized a shuttle to manipulate the thread into actual knots, and it became the favorite pastime of the elite in England around the late sixteenth century. It wasn't until 1750 that we find evidence of the true form of tatting. A pair of chair covers by Mary Granville Delany had tatted rings incorporated into the design. In England, between 1846 and 1868, a remarkable woman by the name of Mlle. Elenore Riego de la Branchardière wrote eleven books on tatting. Riego is responsible for much of what is considered the traditional style of tatting practiced today.
The Pilgrims brought tatting to America, where its popularity has waxed and waned throughout the years. Popular women's magazines such as Peterson's, Harper's Bazar and Godey's all regularly published tatting in the mid-1800s, but it wasn't until the early 1900s, with the onset of the ten-cent thread company publication, that tatting enjoyed a fashionable resurgence. Talented designers like Anna Wuerfel Brown, Sophie LaCroix, Mary Fitch, Virginia Snow and Anne Champe Orr are just a few who showcased their talents in unique booklets of tatting designs.
Through the genius of one designer, Anne Orr, tatting evolved one step further with one of the most innovative techniques to be discovered since the true chain was established in 1862-split ring tatting. The technique first appeared in 1923 in a J. & P Coats publication entitled Crochet, Cross Stitch and Tatting, Book No. 14. Of the thirteen edgings shown, twelve utilized the new technique. (There was also a centerpiece design that used split rings.) In each publication that the split ring appeared in, there was one page that carried four little pictured examples and a brief explanation of the technique.
Little fanfare was given to such an important development in tatting's history. Very few patterns implemented the technique following its debut; therefore the technique never really had the opportunity to become an established part of everyday tatting techniques. I have yet to find any designs by other authors that implemented the technique since Orr's last tatting publication in 1958, until a designer named Mary Sue Kuhn published her book, The Joy of Split Ring Tatting, in 1984. Kuhn took the original technique and brought it into the light that it deserved. She realized the possibilities that were available if one were to utilize the technique when designing.
After seeing Kuhn's Six-Pointed Split Ring Tatted Star Ornaments in 1988, I started to implement the technique in my designs. However, there is a difference between the original Orr method and the split ring technique that I implemented then and teach today. Once again a technique evolves.
Orr's split ring technique requires you to remove the ring from the left hand after the first portion of the ring is tatted. The work is then reversed to finish the bottom/ second half of the ring. The stitch Orr refers to as the reverse double stitch is misnamed. Orr was basically tatting a double stitch with one difference: the stitch did not "pop" over but was made with the second shuttle's thread and slid into place. There was no actual reversing of the hitches to justify calling it a reverse double stitch.
I have found that it is not necessary to reverse your work to complete the bottom/second half of the split ring nor to reverse your work to tat chains. I also believe that tatting is meant to have a wrong and right side. I've developed a technique called "directional tatting" that enables you to tat in a way that will have your hitches appearing in proper order even when you've had to reverse your work to tat. I'm also the author of a technique called "stacking" that enables you to give tatting a three-dimensional look. Tatted butterflies never looked so real!
I do not give any directions for the traditional method of tatting. It is my belief that the traditional method is an advanced form of manipulation and should only be used by an experienced tatter. If you are new to tatting and are just trying to learn the basic slip knot, I've shown the easiest method I know of to better explain how to manipulate the shuttle and thread. Shuttle size and thread type are purely the choice of the individual using them.
It is my hope that this book will encourage the designer who resides in us all to blossom, and create more patterns for the practitioners of tatting to enjoy.
Excerpted from Tatting Hearts by Teri Dusenbury. Copyright © 1994 Teri Dusenbury. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
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